It’s been five years since John Mayer has been down under and it’s been 9 years since he’s played in Brisbane so the opening night of his 2019 Australian tour was bound to be a special one. With a very eager crowd packing into the Brisbane Entertainment Centre for this mammoth two and a half hour show they were promised a night of guitar solos, epic songs, quirky banter and Mayer and his band on stage the whole time giving their all. And that’s exactly what they received. As the house lights dimmed and the stage filled with moody blue lighting, John Mayer and his band appeared on stage and broke into the opening riff of ‘Belief’. It felt like a scene straight from ‘A Star Is Born’ as the band riffed their way through the opening and truly set a humble foundation for the show. “Thank you for coming and good evening” Mayer said as he graciously welcomed the screaming crowd. Diving straight into ‘Moving on And Getting Over’, ‘Who Says’. ‘Why Georgia’ and ‘I Don’t Trust Myself’ he really did explore the full depths of his discography throughout this show. “I’m so sorry we missed you last time we came to Australia. But we will make it up to you tonight. Hopefully we play your favourite song” he added whilst the crowd came to terms that he was standing right in front of them. From the second he walked onstage, the crowd on the seated floor immediately stood and remained like that for the duration of the show. Whilst his music isn’t completely floor fillers, he was still able to maintain a natural vibe that kept everyone swaying along continuously. With ‘Speak For Me’, ‘In The Blood’, ‘Helpless’, ‘Changing’ and ‘Vultures’ wrapping up the first half of the show, he took a brief intermission to grab some air while the crowd grabbed a drink.
Returning to the stage by himself after the intermission he acoustically performed ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland’, ‘Go Easy On Me’, ’Neon’ and ‘Free Fallin’ before the band joined him again for ‘Waiting On The World To Change’. As the night started to flow in all motions he decided to get even more emotional with ‘Dreaming With A Broken Heart’ which had everyone lighting up their phones. ‘Paper Dolls’ and a cover of ‘Knocking On Heavens Door’ followed before he got all sentimental with ‘Slow Dancing With A Broken Heart’ and delivered an epic guitar solo. And I mean, the whole show was full of epic guitar solos but there was something about that song which made it feel extra special. It almost sounded like the guitar had it’s own voice and was singing along which was so mesmerising to watch.
Closing up the main set with ‘Dear Marie’, it wasn’t that much of a shock when they returned to the stage for ‘I Guess I Just Feel Like’ and ‘New Light’ which had a different groove to some of the material before. But it didn’t matter because you were immediately transported into the world of his artistry and captivated by his raw talent. His facial expressions when he’s hitting particular notes was thouroughly entertaining to decrypt and was a vibe within itself. But he delivered a very strong show which was all about the music and served as the perfect greatest hits experience which was ultimately for the fans. His production was very minimalistic but it felt very intimate as if he was playing in your living room instead of 13,000 people. The only songs missing from the setlist were ‘Gravity’ and ‘Heartbreak Warfare’ but with the fact that Auckland didn’t get ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland’, I think Brisbane got pretty lucky with their selections. This show is all about the music, emotions and vibes and when you’re watching Mayer perform you know that he’s doing these shows because he loves it and not just because he needs a quick pay check.
John Mayer 2019 Australian Tour
Wednesday 27 May – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Friday 29 May – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney